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Modeling and Simulating the Empathetic Decision-Making Behavior in Social Networks with Homophily

Chien-Min Chen,
Min-Sheng Lin,


People tend to associate with other people whose qualities are similar to their own. This phenomenon is the so-called “like attracting like”, or the “homophily”, in social networks. This paper presents a model that simulates how individuals in social networks with homophily make decisions as a result of the empathic effect, which refers to influence by the decisions of friends or the populations of social networks of which they are a member. In this study, experiments were conducted using Monte Carlo simulation to test a particular decision-making preference (such as asking a question in a Facebook group) and Chi-square tests were conducted to see whether the distribution of people’s final choices is the same as that of people’s intrinsic choices. Experimental results show that under each the following conditions, individuals are less likely to experience the empathic effect, meaning that they are less likely to change their intrinsic choices: (1) the social network exhibits a more homophily; (2) decision-makers have more options from which to choose, and (3) individuals have fewer friends.

Citation Format:
Chien-Min Chen, Min-Sheng Lin, "Modeling and Simulating the Empathetic Decision-Making Behavior in Social Networks with Homophily," Journal of Internet Technology, vol. 19, no. 2 , pp. 403-413, Mar. 2018.

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